Approximately 40 attendees participated in a professionally facilitated workshop on September 19th and 20th, 2017 hosted by the National Turfgrass Federation and the U.S. National Arboretum to discuss turfgrass research needs, priorities and funding strategies. Attendees included representatives from golf, parks, seed and sod, lawn and landscape, irrigation, equipment, plant protection/enhancement industries as well as university researchers, non-profits and the federal government.
The historical context and development of the 2004 National Turfgrass Research Initiative (NTRI) was presented, as well as presentations outlining USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), non-profits (United States Golf Association and other turf organizations) and commercial turf industry research accomplishments. Participants were then divided into six groups, with each group being asked to identify and develop their top 5-6 research needs. From these groups, a total of 28 research needs were compiled and presented to all participants and voted on before being consolidated into 18 broad research topics.
Participants came from across the United States and represented the following entities:
- Government: 38%
- Non-profits: 29%
- Industry: 25%
- Universities: 8%
There were many research topics identified which included, but were not limited to, social research to identify green industry perceptions and benefits, quantifying turfgrass, best management practices, alternative turfgrass species, genome sequencing, new cultivars, turf phytobiomes, carbon sequestration, turfgrass water use, urban microclimates, minimum levels for sustainable nutrition, and more…
Participants were then updated on potential funding mechanisms, as well as encouraged to discuss implementation strategies. The group decided to utilize the 2004 National Turfgrass Research Initiative as a framework, and update NTRI based on research priorities identified by participants. Several participants volunteered to help with an NTRI update, while others offered to further efforts in developing, funding, and implementing these research priorities.
Casey Reynolds, PhD was there on behalf of TPI and The Lawn Institute to participate as well as offer their resources and support for the National Turfgrass Federation. Special thanks to the all of those who participated by devoting their time, resources, and expertise to move this initiative forward and support the future of the turfgrass industry.